The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice: Tanzania: Fight Against Illegal Ivory Trade Needs Collective Efforts

Tanzania: Fight Against Illegal Ivory Trade Needs Collective Efforts

Dar es Salaam Special Police Zone Commander Suleiman Kova shows some of the 214 elephant tusks impounded by police.

ILLEGAL trade in ivory is apparently a huge, lucrative and extremely intricate venture. In a little less than two weeks police in Tanzania and Hong Kong have seized elephant tusks worth billions of shillings suspected to have been smuggled from Tanzania.

More alarmingly is the number of elephants that had to be killed by poachers and ivory hunters to get the quantity of the tusks seized. It only goes to show that poaching remains a serious problem in the country despite efforts to restrict international trade on ivory.

As the traders continue to thrive, countries like Tanzania continue to lose in a myriad of ways, including serious decline in elephant population which in turn disturb the balance in the ecosystem. Poaching, however, also causes loss of human life, denies the government revenue, fuels corruption and the breakdown of law and order where illegal trade in ivory flourishes.

It may not be prudent to chastise governments at this juncture, but as a country where the ivories originate, we do not seem to benefit in any manner. It would be wise then to seriously look into who benefits from the illegal trade and take the fight to them. At best, all those involved should be viewed as criminals.

And since the players appear to have created a complex syndicate, governments have to display similar backbone by showing serious resolve in the fight against illegal trade in ivory. According to reports, most of the ivory these days is used for making items that are a show of exotic wealth. Since1980s, it is said that Japan consumes about 40 per cent of the global trade.

Another 40 per wcent is consumed by Europe and North America, often worked in Hong Kong, which is the largest trade hub, with most of the rest remaining in Africa. But African countries including Tanzania pay a far higher price as a result of the trade than any part of the world.

As evinced by those arrested this week in Dar es Salaam, they use the finances from the lucrative trade to buy their way out of trouble and ensure that their ventures flourish. As it was reported, one of those arrested tried to bribe a policeman with 15m/- to release them.

Recent arrests in Hong Kong and Dar es Salaam should serve as a breakthrough. Governments and the international community need to bolster cooperation to end the trade that continues to have adverse effects on the economies of African countries. Police have so far done a commendable job, but authorities should not be too complacent. The lengths to which the traders are willing to go just to have their ways should be enough for authorities to be more vigilant.

Tanzania seizes million dollar elephant ivory haul

Seized elephant tusks on display at the Hong Kong Customs on October 20, 2012. Hong Kong customs officers seized almost four tonnes of ivory worth about USD3.4 million, hidden in shipments from Kenya and Tanzania. Photo/AFP  AFP

Tanzanian police have seized over 200 elephant tusk pieces valued at around a million dollars from 91 different animals, officials said on Wednesday.

Four people were also arrested when the 214 tusk pieces were seized on Monday from the house of a Kenyan living in Tanzania’s economic capital Dar es Salaam.

Police said they believed the ivory came from elephants in Tanzania, and that smugglers had hoped to take the tusks by road into Kenya.

“We are continuing with our investigations to dismantle the trafficking network,” said Dar es Salaam’s police chief Suleiman Kova.

The illegal trade in ivory is fuelled by demand in Asia and the Middle East where elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns are used to make ornaments and in traditional medicines.

Africa is home to an estimated 472,000 elephants whose survival is threatened by poaching and illegal trade in game trophies, as well as rising population causing habitat loss.





Editorial: SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras

Editorial Committee

David Dunham

Arno Ambrosius

Gustavo López Ospina

Mariana Almeida

Pieter Jan Brouwer

Assistant: Emilia Romero

The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice is associated with the International Environmental Mission, a grass roots citizens movement created by Chilean Senator Juan Pablo Letelier.


~ by FSVSF Admin on 31 October, 2012.

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